Dry beans are one of the most beneficial food storage items to have in your home and one of the best ways to make them last is to store them in Mason Jars.
However, there are some important techniques to implement when storing your dry beans in Mason Jars that will guarantee their longevity. A failure to store your dry beans in Mason Jars properly can lead to a lot of different storage issues such as shorter shelf life, loss of quality, and contamination.
To store dry beans in Mason Jars, you are going to want to treat your beans for insect eggs. Next, you must ensure that the Mason Jars that you use are completely free of bacteria by sanitizing them. Lastly, you must store your beans with oxygen absorbers in a cool and dry place in your home.
When it comes to food storage items, dry beans should be at the top of every person’s list. Whether you are storing your beans to maximize their shelf life for your regular cooking or creating a sophisticated food storage stockpile to last you for months (or years), implementing the right techniques is what is going to make your beans last. One of the best ways that you can store your beans is by using Mason Jars.
The Mason Jar has been used for food storage since 1858 and there is a reason that it is still one of the most popular ways of storing food to this day - it works! Despite how long they have been used, there are still few storage methods that work as effectively as Mason Jars, which is why so many survivalists rely on them for their stockpiles. However, you want to ensure that you are storing your beans in your Mason Jars correctly if you want to make them last. To help you understand this better, we are going to take a closer look at how to store dry beans in Mason Jars in more detail.
As someone who is a certified survivalist and food storage enthusiast, I have had an extensive amount of experience storing dry beans in Mason Jars. My experience has taught me that the best way to store dry beans in Mason Jars is to ensure that there is no risk of contamination of any kind during the storage process.
Dry Beans: Mason Jar Storage
The practice of food storage is becoming a widely adopted precaution that many Americans are taking these days - and for good reason. There are so many different reasons to plan for food storage - with natural disasters becoming an increasing threat and empty shelves at supermarkets as a result of pandemics, being prepared is the most logical thing a person can do. That is why having an ample supply of food storage is not just a precautionary measure but a common-sense strategy to secure the safety of yourself and your loved ones.
When an emergency situation arises, the only thing that one can really do is be prepared for it. The first and foremost priority for anyone in this circumstance is to ensure that your basic needs are going to be met. Unfortunately, events such as this happen when we least expect them to, but you will sleep much better at night knowing that you are ready for when things hit the fan.
That is why having a substantial amount of dry beans is one of the most important food items that you can keep in your home. In addition to being full of protein and other vital nutrients, dry beans have the potential to have one of the longest shelf lives of any food item out there. If stored properly, you can expect your beans to last for decades - with some people even making theirs last upwards of 30 years (or more).
However, if you check the label of your dry beans when you buy them from the store, you will find that they commonly have a shelf life of just 2 to 3 years, which is not nearly enough for a food storage system. While this figure is often underestimated, the shelf life of your dry beans will not last very long in this packaging. What you are going to want to do is store your dry beans in Mason Jars to maximize their shelf life, but you want to be careful with how you do it, as poor storage methods and procedures can easily result in contaminated food products. Keep reading to learn more about how to store your dry beans in Mason Jars.
Dry Bean Inspection & Selection
Before you drive down to the store and begin buying dry beans and throwing them in Mason Jars, you are going to want to ensure that you are buying a quality product. The last thing that you want to do is go through the trouble of storing your dry beans if they were not worthy of storage, to begin with.
The good thing about beans is that you can choose whichever one you please. All dry beans are fantastic for storage and you can choose as many or as few options as you like for your Mason Jars. Just make sure that they are 100% dry if you want to make them last.
It is common to find some supermarkets that have dry beans available by the lb. These beans are going to be perfectly fine for your casual at-home cooking and kitchen storage, but if you plan on keeping your beans for as long as possible, you may want to consider a better option.
The best way to do this is to buy your beans wholesale in prepackaged sacks. There are a lot of great wholesale options out there that will get the job done just fine, but if possible always do a bit of research on the specific bean producers that you are considering and choose the one that has the best reputation for quality assurance.
By buying your beans pre-packaged, you will know that they have not come into contact with any contaminants during transport, which mitigates any chance of contamination. Once, you have decided on a bean producer, you should do a quick inspection of the product before moving forward to see if you can spot any loss of quality or contaminants.
For the most part, the United States has very high standards for the food that is allowed to be distributed but it is better to be safe than sorry. As you inspect your beans, try to keep an eye out for anything that would indicate mold, moisture, or discoloration. If you do not spot anything that would indicate a faulty product, then you should be good to go moving forward with storing your dry beans in Mason Jars.
Dry Bean Treatment
Now, if you have ensured that there is no mold or any other immediate sign of contamination on your dry beans, then they will be suitable for storage. However, something that is often shocking to discover for most consumers is that most dry goods that you buy such as beans and wheat will often have insect eggs inside of them.
Although this is a bit unsettling to find out about at first - I assure you that this is nothing out of the ordinary and that practically every dry good product will have insect eggs in it if not treated by the manufacturer prior to distribution (which they normally do not).
This is not an issue for most kitchen storage as you will likely have eaten your dry goods before the eggs even had a chance to hatch, but for long-term bean storage, you may want to consider treating them first. Treating your beans is not a mandatory step but many survivalists like to go the extra mile and take care of this before putting their goods in their stockpiles.
The best way that you can treat your beans is to simply place them inside of your freezer inside of a vacuum-sealed bag or container for about a week. Alternatively, you can always use heat to treat your beans by placing them inside of your oven at medium heat for roughly 20 minutes - 120 to 130 degrees should do just fine.
However, if you decide to store your beans in a freezer for the long haul, you can skip the treatment of your beans altogether, as this method will kill two birds with one stone. More on this later.
Mason Jar Treatment
Although Mason Jars are one of the best storage containers that you can use for your dry beans, you want to make sure that they are completely clean and sanitized before you begin putting food in them.
If you are buying your Mason Jars brand new from the store then your sanitization process should be relatively straightforward, as simply washing them should do the trick. However, if you are like most of us, you have probably got a bunch of Mason Jars lying around the house that you want to make use of for your bean storage.
Old Mason Jars are perfect for storing your dry beans but you need to inspect and clean them first. As you inspect your Mason Jars, assess their quality and cleanliness. The first indicator of a poor jar is going to be a bad lid or a damaged jar. If you see any cracks in the jar, you can consider it trash, as it will be useless for storing your beans - the same goes for lids (any cracks or punctures).
Next, you are going to want to look at how dirty the jars are. Mason Jars that have just a few indications of dirt or old food remnants are going to be fine to use after they have been thoroughly washed in your dishwasher or by hand (with hot water). One thing that you want to really look for is any signs of permanent food contamination in your lids. Old Mason Jar lids have a habit of getting yucky after repeated use, which is not something you want to use for storing your dry beans long-term. Using these lids can easily lead to contaminated food as there are still bacteria present.
If you want to use these lids and not waste them, you can take a more advanced approach with your cleaning process by incorporating bleach into the mix. To do so, simply soak your lids and Mason Jars in bleach for roughly 20 minutes and then proceed with the above-mentioned cleaning methods, as this will get rid of any bacteria in your jars and lids.
Once you have thoroughly cleaned your Mason Jars and are confident in them being completely sanitized, you can store pouring your dry beans inside. The best way to do this is to use a (clean) funnel that has a wide spout. Simply, pour the beans into the Mason Jars through the funnel and seal the lid. Having an air-tight lid is of the utmost importance for this storage method to be successful. A great way to guarantee this is to invest in a vacuum sealer that will suck all of the air out of the jar and optimally secure the lid.
However, if you want to have extra assurance that your beans are going to last in there, an extra precautionary tactic is to utilize an oxygen absorber. Oxygen absorbers are very affordable and easy to use. All you need to do is take a single packet and place it inside of the jar with your dry beans.
Mason Jar Protection & Handling
I think Mason Jars are one of the best storage methods out there for dry beans but this container undeniably does have some flaws that are worth noting so that you know what you are in for.
One of the most common issues that I have found with storing my dry beans in Mason Jars is how easy they are to break. At the end of the day, glass is not the most secure storage method when it comes to impact or contact (big and small).
The tiniest bump can sometimes result in a crack in your Mason Jar, which results in oxygen exposure and the eventual deterioration and contamination of your beans. If you can catch this early enough, it is not the end of the world, as you can always repeat the process of storing your beans again. But the worst-case scenario is that you fail to see the crack or damage in the Mason Jar and then store it, which results in you relying on something in your stockpile that will eventually go bad.
That is why I always like to handle my Mason Jars with absolute care and consideration when they are being stored and moved around. It is easy to forget to take such basic precautions when dealing with your Mason Jars, but if you want to make them last and have them as a reliable storage container for your dry beans, you need to treat them with respect.
Luckily, there are some great methods that you can utilize with your Mason Jars to give them some added protection. For even my kitchen Mason Jars that I use for regular cooking items, I like to take a few rubber bands and wrap them around the glass. This is such a basic yet effective tactic that helps mitigate the risk of small impacts causing any kind of damage to the jar.
This is a great starting point for protecting your dry beans and your Mason Jars, but if you are planning on doing long-term storage - any number of things can go wrong that results in damages and breaks. For the bulk of my Mason Jars, I like to take either a cushy fabric or bubble wrap to put around the glass, which I then put rubber bands over. This added layer of protection will really seal the deal in keeping your glass from shattering or breaking.
In addition to mitigating the risks of glass damage, the added layer of protection also helps keep light from getting into your dry beans, which is a common reason for food products to lose quality over time. More on this next.
If you have followed the above-mentioned procedure, then your dry beans should have excellent means of storage in your Mason Jars. The final step to securing the long-term storage of your dry beans is to place them in the right location(s).
The storage location of your dry beans is a very vital step in this process, as you can take all of the precautions up until this point and still end up with contaminated food. The most important characteristic that you want to look for in any storage location for your dry beans is to pick somewhere that is cool and dry.
The ideal temperature for the long-term storage of your dry beans should rarely (if ever) fluctuate above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, you want to keep your dry beans out of direct sunlight, which is why wrapping the Mason Jars can be such a beneficial bonus for storage security.
Luckily, there are some fantastic places around your home that are going to be perfect for storing your dry beans. Let’s take a look at some examples.
If you have a modest supply of dry beans or are simply keeping beans for regular cooking, then one of the best places that you can pick is your pantry.
Your pantry was designed specifically for storing dry food products, which means that you know your beans are going to be fine there.
An ideal spot for keeping your food storage stockpile is your basement.
This part of your home is generally cool and dry as it is, which makes it perfect for long-term food storage supplies.
In addition, this is a part of your home that rarely gets a lot of activity, so you should have less risk of things getting bumped and moved around.
If you want to make your dry beans last for as long as possible, there is no better place that you can choose than your freezer.
A freezer takes food storage security to a new level as you will have a place that is optimally cold, dry, and away from sunlight.
This is the method to take if you want to store your dry beans indefinitely, as they will never go bad so long as they are kept in the freezer. In addition, by freezing your dry beans, you are effectively getting rid of the eggs that are in them, which enables you to treat and store your beans in one move.
About THE AUTHOR
I have over a decade of experience in food and beverage management, including a ServSafe food safety qualification. As part of this qualification, I have been professionally trained in safe food storage.Read More About Mark Walker